Astronomers discover twins to our Milky Way galaxy

Aug 24, 2012
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Our Milky Way galaxy is a spiral galaxy and as special as it is, it's certainly not the only galaxy of its kind in the universe. Astronomers have announced the discovery of two galaxies that are nearly a perfect match for the Milky Way. According to astronomers, spiral galaxies are common, but these newfound twin galaxies share other key features of our Milky Way.

Key features shared with these newly discovered galaxies, and the Milky Way include the fact that the twin galaxies both have their own satellite galaxies. Astronomers say that those satellite galaxies are very similar to our neighboring large and small Magellanic Clouds. The scientists report that only about 3% of the galaxies in the universe that are similar to the Milky Way also have companion galaxies.

That means that spiral galaxies having companion galaxies similar to the Magellanic Clouds are very rare. According to the scientists, only 14 galaxies similar to the Milky Way have been discovered with only these two being nearly identical to our home galaxy. Scientists involved in the project used data from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly survey that maps out about 340,000 galaxies local to the Milky Way in the grand scale of the universe to make the discovery.

Interestingly, the researchers say that the Magellanic Clouds won't be around forever. One researcher says our two cloud galaxy companions will only be around for a few billion years more. On a human scale of time, that might as well be forever.

[via Space.com]


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